Post-Pregnancy Tips And What To Expect With Your Newborn

March 7, 2016 6:06 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy Of Simon & Schuster

Photo Courtesy Of Simon & Schuster


Elizabeth Isadora Gold’s writing about motherhood, books, music, and feminism has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Tin House, The Rumpus, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her piece about her postpartum anxiety, “Meltdown in Motherland,” was featured on the New York Times Opinionator blog.

Gold’s new book The Mommy Group (published by our sister company, Simon & Schuster) is a witty, wise, and relatable memoir about the incredible bond among a group of new mothers and the importance of female friendship during the crucial first two years of parenthood.

Your hospital bag is packed, you washed and folded all the onesies from your shower, and you’ve revised your birth plan to indicate that you might want that epidural after all. You are so ready to have this baby! But wait… What will happen when you actually bring the little bean home? Well, here’s a hot tip: don’t be like me and forget to have a bed for your newborn (yes, really). Other, less obvious, advice below:

Recovering From Childbirth Takes Longer Than You Think It Will

When I had an unscheduled cesarean with my daughter Clara, I figured I’d be back to my usual self in about two weeks. This was, frankly, one of the more ridiculous ideas ever. A c-section is major abdominal surgery. It was a good month or two before my scar stopped hurting consistently, and until walking a mile felt good. Even if I’d had a vaginal birth, my recovery time could have been equally challenging, with tearing, stitches, and (sorry, but better to know) lacerations.

New moms: don’t feel bad if you don’t feel good for a while. You just grew and removed a person from your body!

Related: 5 “Healthy” Foods You Should Avoid

Breastfeeding Is Harder Than You Think It Will Be, Even If You Think It Will Be Hard

Some mother/baby dyads take to nursing easily. However, I have never met one of those mother/baby dyads. It’s deeply strange how uniquely unfit human babies are for life on the outside. Don’t be afraid to attend a lactation group, see a consultant, or ask other mothers for help when it comes to nursing. As long as your baby is gaining weight, and you feel as if you’re doing the right thing for your family – nursing exclusively, supplementing with formula, deciding that breastfeeding is too hard and stressful – you will both be fine.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


You Can’t Be And Do Everything

Many mothers will hear this, say it to themselves, and even think they believe it. But rare is the new mother who doesn’t think that she is not doing enough. No one is able to be everything to her child. A newborn doesn’t need a bath every day, but even if you have to put the baby’s bouncy chair in the bathroom with you, give yourself a long, hot shower.

Get out of the house, even if it’s to buy baby socks. This is one of the many reasons that Mommy Groups are so essential in those early weeks and months: you get to multi task, hang with baby and talk to other adult people simultaneously. And – bonus – the other moms will watch your kid while you go pee.

Milestones Have Ranges For A Reason. But If You See something, Say Something

Your new baby is perfect in every way. Except maybe, due to a difficult birth, a congenital issue, or some other difficulty, he is not “typically” perfect. If you notice that your child is struggling in some way, make noise. Pediatricians see children for minutes, but you live with them. Do not hesitate to voice a concern. Early intervention is available, subsidized, and proven to improve outcomes.

Be A Supportive Friend When You See Other Mothers Struggling

When you’re with your fellow new mamas, it doesn’t matter whose kid holds their neck up first, rolls over, or eats sweet potato with more gusto. Either the children will all eventually reach the same place, or they won’t. In which case the mother of a child with issues needs your support, love, and help. Don’t speak to her from a place of your own anxiety; ask what she’s feeling and thinking, and really listen to your friend. Mamas of kids with special needs are heroes, straight up, all the time. But even heroes need friends.

Related: Rachael Ray’s Italian Drunken Spaghetti

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Believe In The “Fourth Trimester,” But Know That You Still Have A New Baby

New parents often wait for that crucial three-month birthday to celebrate the end of the “worst of it.” Sorry, but having a baby doesn’t really proceed along such an easy timeline. Early parenting goes so slowly that three months feels like a million years. That’s okay. Breathe, and try to appreciate how short and sweet this time truly is. But also: if you’re feeling acutely awful, get yourself help.

My postpartum anxiety and insomnia developed when Clara was just four months old. I thought I was getting back into the swing of life, and then my hormones and moods crashed. It was awful, but I got through it, and so did my family. And so will you. Bon voyage, old selves. And welcome home mamas!

Elizabeth Isadora Gold’s writing about motherhood, books, music, and feminism has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Tin House, The Rumpus, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her piece about her postpartum anxiety, “Meltdown in Motherland,” was featured on the New York Times Opinionator blog.

Gold’s new book The Mommy Group (published by our sister company, Simon & Schuster) is a witty, wise, and relatable memoir about the incredible bond among a group of new mothers and the importance of female friendship during the crucial first two years of parenthood.

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